When my umma gave birth to me, she said that everyone worried
that I was far too joyonghae and sometimes wished that I kept her up
at night with my cries. I asked why it mattered, gunganghagae jaratjana,
while my yeodongseng caught a cold once every few weeks, her wails

awakening even 5-year-old me. I remember asking umma where
babies came from and why she ordered another one when all I wanted
was to get a good night’s sleep. Holding back laughter, she answered,
“Nuhmankeum teukbyulhan saram ddo gajigo shipuhsuh.” I told her

that it didn’t make sense and went to build a castle with LEGOS. When
I turned nineteen, my girlfriend was neutjuh by two whole weeks and
I had to imagine the life of someone who may or may not be. When she
finally started to bleed, I walked away and almost called my umma to

tell her the good news. She still thinks I haven’t gotten my first kiss.